What is Light Reflective Value (LRV)?

Importance of light reflective value

Light reflective value, or LRV, is a percentage of light that is reflected by any given paint color.

You can predict how light or how dark the color will be by using the light reflective value. The value is determined in this way…

It’s generally measured on a scale of zero to 100 percent. 0% is at one end and is black and reflects no light; 100% is white and reflects all light.

Generally speaking, the lower the LRV value, the darker you can expect the color to be, and vice versa.

The light’s reflective value can seriously affect the mood and ambiance of your space, depending on how much artificial and natural light is in the room.

Paying attention to the light reflective value can be the difference between your room looking cramped and small or comfortable and spacious.

Why is the LRV Important?

When choosing the colors for your home, knowing the light reflective value of a color is essential for two main reasons:

1- Helps homeowners, businesses, and schools make more energy-efficient choices.

For example, a color with a higher light reflective value won’t require as much lighting or air conditioning as a shade that soaks up more light and warms up quickly.

Picking the right color can help you save a lot of money in the future.

2- It allows you to coordinate the interior room colors better when you are designing various rooms or even just a single room.

Usually, you can locate the light reflective value on the back of paint color samples.

For example, if you opt for Sherwin Williams paint samples, you will usually find their light reflective value on the back of sample paint chips.

This information is also usually available online. Be sure you seek it out before deciding on your new paint color.

Light reflective ratings chart

Light Reflectance Value Chart

Below is a quick overview of the reflective ratings and what they represent to give you a better idea:

Reflective ValuePaint Color
0-5Very Dark
5-15    Dark
15-25         Medium Dark
25-50           Medium
50-60   Medium Light
60-75         Light
75-80         Off-Whites
80+               Whites

LRV Values – How Does it Affect Areas?

The LRV value will affect different areas in the room in different ways.

The south-facing room, for example, will need a different LRV value than the west-facing room.

In my opinion, an LRV of 60 to 65 is a magical number that’s the perfect option for your west-facing rooms. These are usually warm colors that won’t be overly yellow or gold in the rooms, and they will gleam beautifully.

For south-facing small-sized rooms, you can consider soothing paint colors in a range of LRV 70 to 75. These are crisp and bright colors that will calm down inside with the incoming heat during the day and make your space appear larger at night.

The LRV value will also affect how the paint color will look at different times of the day. Light color with a high LRV will look different in the morning than in the afternoon.

This is because the light in your area will reflect off of the paint differently at different times of the day.

The LRV value is also affected by the type of paint finish. Flat paint, for example, will have a lower LRV than glossy paint – that’s simply because the light will reflect off the paint differently depending on the finish.

Keep the following information in mind when determining which light reflective value you want and for which areas of your space:

1- Light paint colors in a light room with plenty of illumination make it look lighter since more light is reflected.

2- Dark paint colors in a darker room without lighting will look even darker.

3- Dark paint colors in a light room with decent lighting will reflect the light and bring out the undertones of the color.

4- Light paint colors in a dark room make the space look a bit lighter and brighter.

5- Medium-light, light, and light-reflective values above 60 can significantly affect any incoming light.

6- It is recommended that you choose a neutral color if you have a room that is poorly lit or only has a slight bit of lighting; you don’t want it to look too dark, but you also don’t like natural lighting causing an artificial glare.

The bottom line

Knowing about the LRV values and what it is can help you choose the right colors you are looking for in your home.

It will affect how the paint color looks in different areas of the room and at different times of the day.

When choosing a paint color, be sure to consider the LRV value, as most paint brands have this information readily available.

Some of them also have a light reflectance value calculator that can help you in evaluating the colors and finishes that are most desirable.

So, make sure you check them out and get the advantage.

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